Dales hotel to install new system to stop sewage seeping into River Ure

A Dales hotel is to install a new sewage system to stop effluent seeping into the River Ure.

The work to build two package treatment plants at Yorebridge House follows instruction to the hotel’s owners from officials at the Environment Agency (EA).

The hotel will close for two weeks from November 25 for the work to take place.

The problem caused by leaking old septic tanks, that have been in place since the premises were occupied by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, first came to light in August 2016 when a sewage odour was noticed in the area.

David Reilly, who runs the hotel with wife Charlotte, said they had been liaising with the EA since the problem was discovered and had been emptying the existing tanks monthly to ensure the seepage of effluent was kept to a minimum.

He said the delay in getting the new system installed was due to several factors, including a lack of clarity from the EA on whether a permit was needed for the work and difficulties finding a contractor able to do make the improvements.

He said they also needed to find a two-week window when the hotel could be closed, and arrange financing for the work which was costing around £60,000, with the closure costing the business a further £40,000.

Mr Reilly added: “The problem is being addressed and is being fixed — we’ve been doing everything in our power to get this sorted out.

“It’s just taken forever to organise. We’ve been working closely with the Environment Agency throughout and it’s been us chasing them all the way.”

The owner said the tanks were generally only a third full when being emptied and it was only clean water that was now seeping into the river, although there was still discolouration of the stones on the bank of the river from previous seepage.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We have instructed the owner of Yorebridge House in Bainbridge to take action to prevent the discharge of poorly treated effluent to the River Ure.

“Environment Agency officers visited the hotel following the discovery that poorly treated sewage was being discharged from aging septic tanks.

“We offered guidance and advice to help resolve the matter, which involves replacing the septic tanks with two modern, package treatment plants. In the meantime, the hotel has been employing a tanker to transport its waste away from site.

“We are continuing to monitor the site to ensure that these works are undertaken.

“If you see any pollution relating to this or any other site, please report the matter to our incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”

Two locals residents have written to Bainbridge Parish Council to highlight the issue.

It was discussed at the council’s last meeting when councillors were told the matter was being dealt with by the hotel and the EA.